TEDx returns to campus
Ideas, inventions and powerful stories were shared at the third annual TedxTowsonU event.
The event, hosted by Student Government Association President Kevin Kutner, featured nine speakers who each shared their unique experiences and ideas with the audience.
Freshman Matthew Jones heard about the event through Towson Tigers Today (T3) daily announcements. He said the talk exceeded his expectations.
“I think it was really cool how they got all of these speakers and leaders to come out and show us that we all have a chance to change,” he said.
Delegate Jolene Ivey headlined the event with her talk about the role of women and minorities in public office. In her talk, she argued that women are under-represented in politics. She concluded by encouraging the women in the audience to run for an office or to at least to help another get elected.
“To all the women in the audience, ask yourself if you’re willing to run, then do it,” she said.
Speakers Sunmee Huh and Chul Kwon, undergraduate students at University of Maryland, College Park, and co-founders of Northstar Technologies, shared their ideas for a new automated emergency response system.
Elijah Miles, an 18-year-old Urban Youth Activist who attends Morgan State University, spoke about the stereotypes against urban culture and fashion.
Massoud Adibpour, the founder of Make DC Smile, told the audiences about his organization’s attempts to spread positive energy. He also spoke about how simple acts of kindness can make better communities. This is the third time Adibpour has spoken at Towson which, according to him, has made him a much better speaker.
“It’s just about the experience and getting up on the stage,” Adibpour said.
Andrew Bennett, a “Transformational Magician “ and member of The Magical Circle, taught the audience about the power of believing in one’s self.
Director of Student Activities Dirron Allen told the audience his own personal story and encouraged everyone to have a vision for their future and reach for that goal.
“If you want to make a better society, envision it and do it,” he said.
The evening was concluded with a talk from Erika Brannock, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor, preschool teacher and Towson alumn. Brannock described the horrific details of the day she was wounded, her recovery and how her preschool students inspired to continue being a teacher.
“We are all the people these children are looking to for guidance and how to treat people and were the ones responsible for teaching them on a human level,” she said on stage.
Senior Glorimar Quinones was the student programming curator for the event.
“To have a vision and see it come to life is amazing, especially because it’s a TED,” she said.
TED is a non-profit organization that, since 1984, has created public platforms for speakers across the world to come together and share their ideas concerning topics such as innovations, businesses and global issues.
A TEDx event is an independently organized event that provides the same opportunities to independent organizers, but usually for smaller communities and events.
Quinones said that the university must get approval from TED by submitting a license form to hold an event every year. Quinones said there was no issue getting a license because of Towson’s previously successful TEDx talks.
“We’ve seen success after success, year after year,” she said.
Freshman Jenna Kahn was the only Towson student speaker at the event. An advocate for mental illness awareness, Kahn shared her story about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder at the age of 10 and it’s effect on how she felt society viewed her.
Kahn said she planned to continue speaking at events in the hopes of spreading awareness about mental illness.
“My dream is to do a real TED talk,” she said. “My story has the potential to reach a huge audience.”
When asked if she would do the event again she said she would “definitely apply.”
The event was held in the West Village Commons Ballroom on May 8 and can be seen online at tedxtowsonu.com/watchonline.